Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Au Revoir, Orléans

Pages from Jan's Travel Journal: Saturday, February  28, 2009

Whew! We're in Paris again! It's 5:30 PM and we are settled into the Hotel  Prima Lepic in Montmartre. We arrived by train before noon and took a taxi to the hotel. It's a perfect, warm, sunny day and the streets are packed with pedestrians. It would be nearly impossible to drive down the street. 

I need to back-track just a bit. Last night we had dinner at Volpone, which is Darcy's current favorite place to go for pizza. It was very crowded, with it being a Friday night. We squeezed into our places at a small table in the noisy room and ordered our pizza. French pizza is like nothing I have ever tasted. It's fantastic! My selection was a combination of mushrooms, onion, cheese, and lardons (that tasty smoky, stuff that is like a cross between ham and bacon. It is more flavorful and tender than Canadian bacon) atop a base of creme fraiche. Craig and Darcy both ordered pizza with a red sauce, lardons, and two or three different kinds of cheese, plus the unusual addition of an egg, sunny-side-up atop the pizza! Darcy urged us to try it, and it was really quite good. There was a bottle of pepper-infused olive oil on each table, and we drizzled it onto our pizza for a surprisingly good punch of flavor on an already delicious pizza. Each pizza was plate-sized and was more than adequate. In fact, Darcy and I could not quite finish ours. 

It was late when the three of us returned to the Ibis. We had chosen to walk off some of our meal, and the 20 minute stroll in the cool night air was refreshing. We packed most of our things, setting aside what we would need for the morning. Craig and I awoke before Darcy, so we walked over to Paul to pick up some breakfast pastries. Craig chose a couple of his favorite fruit-filled pastries, while I picked out a chocolate-filled beignet. We ordered pain au chocolat for Darcy, but apparently our French got a bit lost along the way, because we ended up with a couple of pastries that were studded with raisins. Darcy was surprised when we walked in with breakfast treats, as she had thought we had only gone out for coffee. 

Mathieu met us at the train station to see us off. He had hopes of making it to Paris in the morning, but as we discovered later, it was not to be. Our train ride to Paris was pleasant, with the sun shining in a clear blue sky. On the outskirts of Paris, we passed an area of high-rise apartment buildings in a slightly rundown neighborhood. I saw the usual towels and rugs draped over balcony railings, but had to smile when I saw a bicycle hanging from one of the rails! 

Upon arriving at Gare d'Austerlitz, we had no trouble procuring a taxi to the hotel. It was early, so it wasn't surprising to find that our room was not yet ready. We stowed our luggage in a large closet behind the front desk, and set off to find some lunch. A short distance down the street, we ordered sandwiches from a small stand on a corner near the hotel;  panini for Craig and I, and a sausage and cheese crepe for Darcy. As I stepped back to snap a photo, I noticed that we were right next to the Moulin Rouge! We found a bench in the median on the Boulevard de Clichy, and and enjoyed our sandwiches, tossing a crust now and then to the one pigeon, which in no time became 20 pigeons. A cheeky sparrow flitted down into the mob of bigger birds to grab a crumb or two. 


Darcy and Craig, waiting for our lunch order. 

After lunch, we wandered around, checking out the sights and avoiding the many sex shops in the district. We shopped for a few souvenirs (NOT in the sex shops, thank you very much!) and then walked several more blocks to the very old Montmartre Cemetery. It was actually quite interesting to see the many old gravestones and the numerous ornate crypts. Some of them resembled small chapels! We saw a beautifully marked tabby cat curled in the sun atop one of the headstones. 

This Parisian kitty has found a peaceful, sunny spot for a nap.

Darcy at the Montmartre Cemetery. 

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